President Donald Trump
held a news conference gave a speech on Labor Day, a grievance-and-falsehood-filled address that was more fitting for a campaign rally than the White House.
I went through his remarks and pulled out the lines you need to see. They're below.
1. "Happy Labors -- Labor Day."
And away we go!
2. "As you probably see, the numbers are terrific. So we called some people, wished them a very happy Labor Day. And they told us how they're doing."
What numbers? What people? How are they doing?
3. "The unemployment rate plunged, really to the surprise of many, all the way down to 8 -- 8.4% in August. And that's the second-largest single-month decline on record. And we have the first; we have both of them. So we have the two number one declines. Decline meaning positive, not negative."
It is true that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.4% in August. But the reason we have had such big drops in the unemployment rate is that it soared to over 14% during late spring due to the coronavirus shutdown. You can only have such big drops if you have big increases too. Also, "decline meaning positive." Or put another way: "Not 'bad' meaning 'bad' but 'bad' meaning 'good.'"
4. "We have a V shape; it's probably a super V."
Trump is talking about the shape of the economic recovery. A "V"-shaped recovery is one where things collapse quickly and recover quickly. A "Super V" recovery is, um, not a thing. (Joe Biden has said this is a K-shaped recovery.)
5. "Under Operation Warp Speed, we've pioneered groundbreaking therapies, reducing the fatality rate 85% since April."
What's really changed since April is that we have identified lots more people who have the virus which, as this article in Psychiatric Times notes, has "increased the size of the denominator, while the numerator has remained relatively unchanged." Meaning, the number of people dying is not all that different. We are simply better able to ID who has mild or asymptomatic cases far better.
6. "This could've taken two or three years, and instead it's going to be -- going to be done in a very short period of time; could even have it during the month of October."
Trump is floating the idea of a vaccine being ready "during the month of October." Put a pin in this. We'll come back to it later.
7. "Joe Biden, the radical socialist Democrats would immediately collapse the economy. If they got in, they would collapse it. You'll have a crash the likes of which you've never seen before."
Overstatement, thy name is Donald Trump.
8. "Biden's also pledged to demolish the US energy industry and implement the same policies causing blackouts in California. He wants to have things lit up with wind."
"He wants to have things lit up with wind." -- The President of the United States
9. "So we're setting records in jobs, we're setting records in numbers. And you're going to see some very big numbers."
So you say we are setting records in "numbers," eh? Tell me more...
10. "Biden wants to surrender our country to the virus, he wants to surrender our families to the violent left-wing mob, and he wants to surrender our jobs to China -- our jobs and our economic well-being."
He does? How have I not heard about this before????
11. "Our farmers wouldn't be existent right now. Right now, they're very happy."
"Why US farmers are falling out of love with Donald Trump." -- Financial Times
12. "We're way ahead on the nuclear front. We've upgraded our nuclear."
Everyone knows upgraded nuclear is the best kind of nuclear.
13. "When reports come out that certain countries don't really like me too much, that's not because of my personality, although it could be that also, frankly."
[nods head slowly]
14. "And Biden doesn't have a clue. He -- you know he doesn't have a clue. Everybody knows he doesn't have a clue. In prime time, he wasn't good, and now it's not prime time."
Wait, this is not "prime time?" When was "prime time?" Did I somehow miss it and not even know?
15. "His son, Where's Hunter? -- Where's Hunter? I call him 'Where's Hunter?' -- walked away with one and a half billion dollars to manage, even though he never did that before."
"I call him 'Where's Hunter'?" -- The President of the United States. Also, this claim about how much money Hunter Biden made in China is false.
16. "'I won't give them the billion dollars,' he says. 'I won't give them unless they get rid of that prosecutor,' and then, voila, they got rid of the prosecutor. And the press doesn't even want to talk about it."
The press has investigated this claim in regard to Joe Biden's role in Ukraine. And nothing Trump is saying here is accurate.
17. "I'm not saying the military is in love with me. The soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy."
Holy crap. This is the President suggesting that the leaders of the US military don't like him because he is trying to break up their war machine. Very normal stuff!
18. "We defeated 100% of the ISIS caliphate. 100%. When I was in, when I came in it was a mess. It was all over. They have it in a certain color, all ISIS. A year later I said, 'Where is it?' 'It's all gone, sir, because of you.' It's all gone because of my philosophy."
In which Donald Trump say he personally defeated ISIS. (Also, this is not true.)
19. "I talk about it cause today's Labor Day. It's a good time to talk about when we're being ripped off by countries, but nobody's even close to China."
Proposed new Labor Day slogan: "A day to remember how we are being ripped off by other countries." That could catch on!
20. "And Biden's a stupid person. You know that. You're not going to write it. You know that."
OK, so, reporters should just write the words "Biden is a stupid person?" Like, that doesn't feel like what journalists do?
21. "If Biden wins, China wins, because China will own this country."
Again, how did I not know about this? Seems relevant!
22. "You're going to have to take that off, please. Just -- you can take it off. You're -- you're -- how -- how many feet are you away? Well, if you don't take it off, you're very muffled. So if you would take it off it would be a lot easier ... "
In which Donald Trump tells a reporter (Jeff Mason of Reuters) to take off his mask while asking a question. Sure! Nothing to see here!
23. "John McCain liked wars. I will be a better warrior than anybody, but when we fight a war, we're going to win them."
Worth noting: John McCain was imprisoned for five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp after he was shot down. Donald Trump received five deferments to keep him out of the Vietnam War.
24. "But I wasn't a fan, but I respect people and I respect a lot of people."
So, Trump wasn't a McCain fan. But he respects people. In fact, he respects '"a lot" of people.
25. "Who would say a thing like that? Only an animal would say a thing like that. There's nobody that has more respect for not only our military, but the people that gave their lives in the military -- there's nobody -- and I think John Kelly knows that. I think he would know that, I think he knows that from me."
At this point, CNN, Fox News, The Washington Post and the Associated Press (at least) have confirmed the original reporting of The Atlantic that Trump denigrated soldiers who died in war. So....
26. " I understand helicopters very well."
27. "I've done very well with deals, OK? That's what I do."
"Has Trump declared bankruptcy four or six times?" -- Washington Post
28. "They spied on my campaign, and if they were Democrats, they would have been in jail two years ago. They would have been in jail -- literally, if this side were the Democrats, they would have been in jail two years ago for 50-year terms for treason and other things."
29. "They spied on my campaign, and that includes Biden and Obama. They spied on my campaign trying to defeat me."
30. "But let me just -- let me just tell you something: President Obama and Biden -- Sleepy Joe -- he knew everything that was happening. They were spying on my campaign, and they got caught. Now let's see what happens."
31. "And the dirtiest fight of all is the issuance of 80 million ballots, unrequested. They're not requested. They're just sending 80 million ballots all over the country -- 80 million, non-requested. I call them unsolicited ballots. That's going to be the dirtiest fight of all."
Estimates are that 80 million people may vote by mail this year amid Covid-19 concerns. But that's not what Trump is saying here. He is saying that "they" are sending 80 million "non-requested" ballots to people. I have no idea where he got that number but one thing to make clear: What's being sent is mail-in ballot applications, not mail-in ballots. If someone fills out the application, a mail-in ballot is only sent if their information matches what it on file with the elections department in their state.
32. "And if you look at the last period of six months, take a look at the races where they've sent ballots out, take a look at Carolyn Maloney, whose race should be redone because she won that race totally unfairly to her opponent."
Simply not true. The vote counting in Maloney's district took far too long, yes. But no one alleged wrongdoing in the count.
33. "They've been looking at me for four years. They found nothing. Four years, think of it. For four years. From the day I came down the escalator I've been under investigation by sleaze, and they found nothing. They found nothing. "
Donald Trump's 2016 campaign chairman, his personal fixer, his White House political adviser, his political Svengali, and his national security adviser -- among others! -- have been convicted of crimes. So ...
34. "So we're going to have this -- a vaccine very soon, maybe even before a very special date. You know what date I'm talking about."
Trump, who has blasted Democrats for making the vaccine political, just comes right out and says he wants to have the vaccine before election day. OK.
35. "But you have to look at [Kamala Harris] a little bit more closely, because obviously Joe's not doing too well, so you're going to have to look at her a little bit too closely."
There's zero evidence that "Joe's not doing well."
36. "We have to have -- if we get the vaccine early, that's a great thing, whether it's politics or not. Now, do benefits inure if you're able to get something years ahead of schedule? I -- I guess maybe they do. But the most important thing to me is saving lives. It's the most important thing."
He literally just said that the vaccine would be available "before a very special date." Like, am I on crazy pills here?
37. "I want to thank you all, and I just want to wish you a very happy Labor Day. And we're having tremendous success, whether it's on the vaccines, whether it's on the pandemic -- the -- the plague that came in from China that China should've never let happen, cause I will never feel the same about China."
Yeah, this feels like a good place to end.